Is there any benefit to a single overnight trip at altitude?

  • Creator
  • #80338

    I live at sea level and am training for a trip at 11,000 feet. I only have time to travel to the mountains where the trip will take place during the weekend.

    Will I see any benefits from a one night and one day trip and long hike at altitude (maybe once or twice before the trip itself)? Am I better off staying home and substituting the drive time with more low intensity work?

Posted In: Mountaineering

  • Participant
    rich.b on #80341

    Similarly, I live at sea level, and researched this question extensively some years back (and try to stay updated) before a race in the Alps. The short answer would be ’not really’ in terms of physical benefits. That said, those short trips could help you adapt mentally to how it feels to move at altitude and how to pace your effort. I was able to arrive a week early as part of vacation, which allowed overcoming the biggest dip in altitude effects, but it was the opportunity to gauge my effort at altitude and the more extreme vertical that paid off the most. Big difference going from a 40 m ski hill to non-stop 1000 m climbs, and the ability to adjust mindset to that was critical.

    Jane Mackay on #80345

    In addition to what Rich says and giving your legs (esp. calves) a taste of long steady uphill efforts, if it’s relevant to the route you’ll be doing, you could use the mountain hike to specifically work on downhill technique when fatigued and carrying load, as injury prevention if nothing else. The mental factor also comes into play here. I often find a long downhill when fatigued and having already achieved the main goal more mentally challenging than the uphill. The psychological fatigue can then cause one to becomme careless physically.

    hafjell on #80443

    Plus you’ll get to spend time on the route. Road test nutrition, sort out some route finding. Just general familiarity is worth the time in my experience.

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